By Natalia Tabisaura

All work and no play makes Jack (or Jill) a dull boy (or girl). Las Vegas entertains like no other, and New Year’s Eve is no exception. The Strip fills with revelers. Fireworks light up the sky. The hotels and casinos are packed with people and A-list entertainers. Live entertainment is an every-night affair with top artists in music, comedy, television, and stage, but New Year’s Eve raises the bar every year. No one parties like Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve. Consider your early visit to Vegas as a scouting adventure to see what Sin City has to offer.

But just in case New Year’s Eve is too early for you to get your party on Vegas-style, here’s a list of some Las Vegas night life you should make time for after a long day at ALA 2014:

Nightclubs (please note that dress code is strictly enforced.):
• XS at Encore
• Tryst at Wynn
• Hakkasan at MGM Read More →

Philadelphia weather tends to be coldest in January, and snow is always a possibility. As long as you are prepared with warm, layered clothing, it won’t hinder your ability to go out and have fun in our wonderful historic city. The arts and sports are celebrated in equal measure in the “City of Brotherly Love,” a nickname that comes from the Greek roots of the city’s name, adelphi (brother) and phila (love). The week of MW there will be activities to satisfy both art and sports interests.

Professional sports fanatics can catch the Philadelphia 76ers taking on the Phoenix Suns on the 27th or the Philadelphia Flyers winging pucks across the ice against the Deroit Red Wings on the 28th.

If you want to strap on your own pair of skates, there is a rink at The Piazza, The Piazza is in a hip and trendy area of town and also hosts a limited amount of boutique shopping, upscale, trendy eating, and local galleries. Read More →

Heading to Philadelphia for ALA’s Midwinter Meeting? Looking for some great food away from the Conference Center? You HAVE to try the many wonderful delectable delights at the Historic Reading Terminal Market.

Just a stone’s throw from the Convention Center, this market has something for everyone. Whether you are looking for an Amish homemade meal or an authentic “Philly Cheesesteak,” the Reading Terminal Market will have. This local gem not only sells delicious food, but is also peppered with many shops that may just have that perfect gift or souvenir you didn’t even know you were looking for. Find all the information you need to plan your perfect “break” from the conference here.

Hope to see you there!!

by Jennifer Jost

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, the holiday when the more gluttonous among us celebrate what we are thankful for by stuffing ourselves with lots of good food. In Las Vegas you can celebrate Thanksgiving in this way any day of the year simply by visiting one of our famous buffets.

While Vegas buffets may have begun as a way to keep gamblers at the tables for as long as possible, providing a way to eat quickly for little money, many casino buffets today are a destination in themselves, with gourmet food and a price tag to match.

The newest and grandest addition to the  buffet scene is the Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace, which recently celebrated its first anniversary in true Vegas style, with a video choreographed by Emmy Nominated dancer/choreographer Travis Wall (of Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance) :

Read More →

Hello from your Mid-Winter Meeting Local Arrangements Committee!

Have you always wanted to go to Italy and see Pompeii but haven’t made it there yet?’  Well if you’re in Philadelphia for the Mid-Winter Meeting you’ll have your chance (with a much cheaper transportation ticket!)

One Day in Pompeii

From November through April (so right in time for Mid-Winter), The Franklin Institute is hosting a new exhibit called One Day in Pompeii.’  As someone who has recently been to Pompeii and the Naples Museum of Archaeology (which hosts all of the artifacts found in the city), I can testify that the exhibit at the FI is very well done and true to its roots.’  You’ll be astounded by the artifacts, not only for their beauty but for their modernity as well! Read More →

by Natalia Tabisaura

You’re sold on the idea of going to the next ALA Conference, but where oh where will the funds come from?’  It’s easy to say you want to go, but with a place to stay, food, and transportation to consider the price tag becomes daunting and the question arises: Should I go?

Heck yes, you should! The education you get at a conference trumps any webinar or experience in class. Don’t give up hope!’  You can find conference funding in a myriad of unexpected (and expected) places. Here are a few strategies for getting the financial support to get that well-educated tush of yours to the next annual conference.

1. Student discounts! If you are a current student, ALA offers a $100 off registration to encourage library school students to attend.

2. Research grants and scholarships can make a dent in the conference costs. Be sure to pay attention to the deadlines. Also, check the web pages of the associations and subgroups you are a member of for additional opportunities. Here is a list of grants and awards (source:

  • 3M/NMRT Professional Development Grant – Helps finance attendance at ALA Annual. It covers round trip airfare, lodging, conference registration fees and some incidental expenses. Must be a personal ALA/NMRT member working within the territorial U.S. Read More →

By Stefanie Bailey

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Beyond the glitz and glamour of the Las Vegas Strip lies a darker side of the city.’  It has long been rumored that many famous entertainers from the golden era of Las Vegas still haunt some of the most well-known hotels and areas around town.’  Past Vegas notables such as Liberace, Elvis Presley, comedian Redd Foxx and mobster Bugsy Siegel reportedly still hang out in their old Vegas haunts.’  In honor of Halloween this month, we thought we would present to you a few of Vegas’ spooky haunts.

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If you are heading to Las Vegas for the ALA Conference next summer and you’re looking for an unforgettable Vegas experience, make sure to book yourself a room at one of the supposedly haunted strip hotels.’  Big hotel resorts like the Venetian, LVH (Las Vegas Hilton), Luxor, Bally’s, and many more have all had reports of multiple other-worldly encounters.’  ‘ If you decide to stay at the Flamingo Las Vegas, don’t be surprised to run into the ghost of the former casino owner himself, Bugsy Siegel. ‘ Bugsy’s ghost has been reportedly seen hanging around in the outdoor rose garden area near the memorial dedicated in his honor.

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If you’re really into the supernatural, book yourself a stay in the Panorama Suite at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino (formerly the Aladdin).’  But be warned, it is not for the faint of heart; only the bravest should attempt to stay in the suite overnight.’  It is not certain whose ghost haunts the Panorama Suite, but what is certain is that the ghost has quite a sense of humor.’  Guests have reported hearing voices in the middle of the night, the sound of the door bell ringing with no one outside, and the television turning on and off by itself. Read More →

By Soraya Silverman-Montano

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Wow, I can’t believe it’s September already. This year has flown by so fast! ALA 2013 is well over, and 2014 is right around the corner. This year, I had the amazing opportunity to attend Annual for the first time and it was such a great experience. The programs were very educational, the speakers were astounding, I made quite a few friends, and let’s not forget all of Chicago’s good eats. Next year ALA is coming to my home town, good ol’ Las Vegas, and I thought I’d compare my experience from this year to what you can expect in 2014!

Chicago: The Windy City- Highlights

First off, the Speaker Series this year consisted of a phenomenal line up of guest speakers. Steven D. Levitt, author of the Freakonomics series, was the opening keynote and cracked up the audience with an extraordinary story reminiscent of his books. Khaled Hosseini, bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, discussed his most recent, chart-topping novel, And the Mountains Echoed. And to conclude, the incredible Alice Walker presented, reading stories from two of her most recent books, The Cushion in the Road and The World Will Follow Joy. She is so elegant and inspiring; it was such an honor to see her present live.

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The Exhibit Hall was mind-blowing! I happened to be in the area when they cut the opening ribbon and man, are librarians crazy about free swag. Not that I blame them! There were so many awesome giveaways: Free hardback books, advance reader copies, posters, calendars, flash drives, pencils, bookmarks, trinkets, tickets to blockbuster author signings and, my personal favorite, a Mo Willems Pigeon foam hand puppet. Read More →

by Heather Love Beverley

Looking to get revved up for ALA Annual in Chicago? How about spending some time immersed in some deliciously good YA novels, all by extremely talented Chicago authors? Here’s a sampling of some of the literary YA wonders of the Chicago-land area:

Lisa Jenn Bigelow: First-time YA author Bigelow’s novel Starting From Here is captivating readers with its poignant, charming and compelling coming-of-age storyline, and has been named a 2013 Rainbow List Top Ten book.

Franny Billingsley: Billengsley has written a masterpiece of rich imagery and sensual language with her beguiling historical novel, Chime.

Fern Schumer Chapman: Chapman’s novel Is It Night or Day? is a heartwrenchingly beautiful account of a young Jewish girl’s journey from WWII Germany to America. This novel is a fictionalized account of Chapman’s mother’s own journey, which is also chronicled in her memoir Motherland.

Simone Elkeles: Elkeles’s novels range from intense and steamy- the Perfect Chemistry series, Leaving Paradise series, and her newest Wild Cards series- to comical and sweet- the How to Ruin series. All are delightful and engaging. Read More →

by Mari Smith

We know you’re looking good, girlfriend, and the guys are, too! Everyone is welcome to meet and greet your fellow YALSA members and all those interested in joining YALSA at the YALSA Happy Hour on Saturday night from 6:00 to 7:00pm. We will be gathering at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, in Columbus GH.

Come dressed to impress as there will be a fashion show, and participants will be selected that night from those present! Whether you’re a YALSA member or not, show off an outfit from your closet for one of the following categories:

  • school visit
  • meeting with a board of directors
  • job interview
  • gala event

Remember to bring plenty of cash for the bar. That way when Jack taps YOU to participate in the fashion show, you’ll be able to say an enthusiastic, “Yes!” Expect FUN and HAPPINESS at this always-exciting YALSA event!